The World Olympians Association (WOA) has launched a campaign, #TargetEbola, to help combat Ebola in Sierra Leone and other areas in West Africa.
Sierra Leone's two-time Olympian, Dr Francis Dove Edwin, has been appointed to the Presidential task force to help stop the spread of the disease in his homeland, and has asked the WOA to help raise funds along with fellow Olympians from the country.
In order to do this effectively, the WOA has joined forces with Oxfam, one of the world's leaders in emergency response, and the United States' humanitarian non-governmental organisation MediSend International, a global leader and innovator in transforming healthcare systems in developing countries.
Oxfam's teams are working with local communities to stop the spread of Ebola by ensuring people know how to protect themselves.
They are also providing treatment centres and communities with safe water and sanitation facilities.
MediSend International is training healthcare workers and shipping critical medical and personal protective supplies to doctors and nurses on the front lines of the battle against Ebola.
"My colleague, friend and fellow Olympian, Dr Francis Dove Edwin, and his fellow Sierra Leone Olympians have asked for our help in fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone and this is something that the World Olympians Association will support with energy and resolve through the #TargetEbola campaign," said Joël Bouzou, WOA President.
"We encourage our Olympian members to join in, spread the message and publicise this vital fundraising drive through their social media channels and any other means of communication available.
"We hope that we can galvanise the Olympic community and the general public and provide much needed support for the millions of people in West Africa who are affected by this terrible disease."
To get the campaign started, the WOA has paid the costs for a 20 foot container, full of much needed mattresses and supplies donated by the Sierra Leone community in London, to be shipped to Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital.
"This is a critical time in our fight against Ebola and I encourage my fellow Olympians and the general public to back the #TargetEbola campaign and donate whatever they can," said Edwin.
"I would like to thank the WOA, Oxfam, MediSend International and Olympians everywhere for their ongoing support.
"Together we can make a difference."
The fastest man in the world and six-time Olympic gold medallist, Usain Bolt, has donated a set of signed running spikes that will be put up for auction and Olympic legends Claudia Bokel of Germany, Sergey Bubka of Ukraine, Carl Lewis of the US, Koji Murofushi of Japan, Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden and Yang Yang of China are already supporting the campaign.
"The #TargetEbola campaign is a very worthy cause and drastic action is needed," said Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medallist.
"I appeal to my Olympic friends to spread this vital message and I make a plea to anyone and everyone to come forward with a much needed donation."
Wiberg, double gold medallist in Alpine skiing, added: "#TargetEbola is a very important cause and I will help in any way I can.
The WOA is appealing to the rest of its 100,000 strong Olympian community around the world to get involved and publicise #TargetEbola.
To make a donation to #TargetEbola, click here, or text TARGET to 70066 (UK only).
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